Cameraman based in Edinburgh, employed by ITN, working for ITV's Good Morning Britain covering stories all over the UK and the world. War Zones, World Cups, Royal Tours and many other less exciting assignments, like interviewing current and ex Prime Ministers have kept me busy over the years working in Breakfast Television since GMTV came on the scene back in '93 and regional TV before that. In 2009 I began to record what it is like to work, the often strange and long hours needed to bring the hard news, human interest and fluffy fun to the UK's TV screens in the morning, mostly broadcasting live.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Snow comes to Scarborough, or does it?

Wednesday 13th March

It was approaching six thirty pm last evening, the kitchen knife in my hand was slicing through a red pepper when the phone rang.

"Blocked Number"


There would be snow in or around the Leeds area during Daybreak's air time in the morning, or so the forecasters predicted.

I needed to get on the road to head in that direction. An exact location for the broadcasts and where I would get a few hours sleep would come as I drove down the road.

I quickly finished chopping up the peppers. Along with some chicken, onion and sauce I threw them into the wok, gave them a quick cook and served the resulting stir fry up to my wife and son, abandoning the idea of having any myself.

My dinner was a sandwich, crisps and juice from an M&S Simply Food eaten in the car, washed down with an extra hot latte from Costa Coffee.

I was clocking up the miles on the A1 as the night progressed and the calm weather stayed calm.

The news from the office was Bradford. I'd been booked into the Premier Inn at Leeds Bradford airport.

I checked into the basic but clean and spacious room at nearing midnight not looking forward to only getting four hours sleep. Outside, the clear calm night continued.

The news I got from the office when I called in before getting into bed was pleasing.

My alarm would not need to be set for 4 am. We would be on standby for the weather and only called if it got bad.

Judging from how it had been like all the way down I felt fairly confident we would get a full night's sleep.

At three am I was disabused of that notion.

The prediction was for some very heavy snow during our air time at various parts of the east coast which would inevitably cause travel disruption.

We needed to go across the country to Scarborough's railway station where we were to be ready to do a combination of weather shots and travel reports.

Leeds Bradford airport is on quite high ground at 208 meters. The weather had not changed there since I had gone to bed less than three hours ago.

So, when I got in my car and started to drive I could not help thinking that I was on another of those wild snow chases.

For most of the almost two hour drive there was no sign of a change in the weather let alone heavy snow.

Then all of a sudden about twenty miles from Scarborough close to the village of Rillington I was in a blizzard. For the next fifteen miles or so there were very heavy snow storms. 
The near white out on the road to Scarborough
For miles at a time the black of the road disappeared under a thick covering of snow.

To the east and north of the village of Ganton as I approached Scarborough the snow petered out. The weather was once again calm.

By the time we got to the town it was a little cold and wet.

There was certainly no point in doing any weather shots.

Katy Fawcett the correspondent there in case travel reports were required called the office to suggest that we went back along the road a little to where there was a reasonable amount of snow.

The reply was that we should stay put and be ready for the snow that was coming our way any time now. The station was wanted as the backdrop for the travel reports.
Scarborough railway station and a fairly clear blue sky
So, Martin set up the satellite dish, Bob got the sound kit rigged, I got the camera set up and Katy prepared to receive the deluge of information on the chaos about to happen.

We waited in the truck for the blizzard to come.

We stayed there until the end of the programme.

A few flakes of snow fluttered down melting away as they hit the pavement.

Katy's inbox stayed empty of notices of road and rail closures.
The satellite dish and a few falling flakes of snow
The camera set up on the corner opposite the railway station
Sound recordist Bob checking that the sound is working
At the end of the Daybreak programme without having had one shot on air we packed the kit away and headed off on our opposite directions either home or off to another job.

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